The Comprehensive Guideline to Hospice and Palliative Care

Good morning friends,

Back in April of 2012, I published a lengthy and informative article here, outlining the nuances of palliative care and hospice care and attempted to distinguish between them.

The differences may be subtle but they exist and can be properly quantified.

I mentioned at the time that at Regency Nursing Centers, we do both with great compassion and devotion.

Since then, Palliative care has seen much press within the healthcare community and I’ve been keeping close tabs on the dialogue.

A new review says palliative care’s association with end of life has created an “identity problem” that means the majority of patients facing a serious illness do not get the benefit of treatment for the physical and psychological symptoms that occur throughout their disease.

The editorial is co-authored by palliative care experts at Harvard Medical School, Massachusetts General Hospital, the American Cancer Society, and Johns Hopkins University, and is prominently featured in the New England Journal of Medicine.

The authors collectively posit that palliative care should be pro-actively incorporated within the framework of standard medical care for those patients suffering from serious illnesses rather then being applied re-actively after all other treatments have failed.

The authors say that in order for palliative care to be used appropriately, clinicians, patients, and the general public must learn the fundamental differences between palliative care and hospice care, a distinction that is not well-known (again, I tackled this almost two years ago).

The authors further cite that seven in ten Americans describe themselves as “not at all knowledgeable” about palliative care, and most health care professionals believe it is synonymous with end-of-life (hospice) care.

While both are intended to relieve suffering, hospice care provides care for people in the last phases of an incurable disease so that they may live as fully and comfortably as possible.

However, Palliative care is an area of healthcare that focuses on relieving and preventing the suffering of patients. Unlike hospice care, palliative medicine is appropriate for patients in all disease stages, including those undergoing treatment for curable illnesses and those living with chronic diseases, as well as patients who are nearing the end of life. Palliative care focuses on helping patients get relief from symptoms caused by serious illness and is appropriate at any age or stage in a serious illness.

For more information visit this website.

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